This week saw several Harpoon 5 (Admiralty Trilogy Group) data annex purchases:
- America’s Navy (Admiralty Trilogy Group, last updated Oct 2021). From the publisher – “America’s Navy lists all the US Navy warships in service between 1955 and the present day, as well as some US Coast Guard ships and other vessels. It is designed as a sourcebook for Harpoon, fifth edition, but it can also be used as a general reference. Organized as a collection of annexes, Annex A provides statistics on ships as built, and any modifications and refits over time, sometimes many times. Annexes C and on give detailed weapons and sensors characteristics, including guns, missiles, ASW weapons, radars, sonars, with all the information needed to use them in a Harpoon scenario. A new feature of this edition is information on air groups used by aviation ships. Annex R, by Andy Doty, is the most complete list available anywhere, and provides data on units, aircraft types, and number of aircraft for each deployment.”
- America’s Aircraft (Admiralty Trilogy Group, last updated Oct 2021). From the publisher – “America’s Aircraft lists the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and US Air Force aircraft in service between 1955 and the present day….In addition to real-world platforms, many canceled or proposed aircraft and their systems are also described.”
- China’s Navy (Admiralty Trilogy Group, last updated Oct 2021). From the publisher – “China’s Navy lists the ships and aircraft used by the People’s Liberation Army Navy and Air Force and Chinese Coast Guard, in service between 1955 and the present day…The book also provides information on land-based surface-to-air missiles and coastal defense missiles and their battery organization. Supplemental annexes list ship classifications and factors used to convert weapons and sensor information into game data.”
If you are a fan of the Next War series by designer Mitchel Land from GMT Games, you definitely need to check out the Multi-Domain rules offered by Ian Sullivan on the Inside GMT Blog. His “Making ‘Next War’ More Multi-Domain: Some Alternative Rules for the ‘Next War’ Series” are easy-to-incorporate rules but go far to bring the game “up to date.”
The Saturday Game Night title was Kingdomino Origins (Blue Orange Games, 2021) using gameplay mode 2. Totem Mode. This gameplay mode adds resources as a bonus; you gain points for each resource in your territory at end game and also score additional points if you have the majority-share of each resource between players.
Stuart Tonge’s “strategic historical game,” 2 Minutes to Midnight (Plague Island Games, 2022) got a deep rules review this week. I last saw a prototype review copy just before the Kickstarter campaign started and am quite happy with the finished product. Not sure if this will get to the gaming table in a two-player or solo version first…
Role Playing Games
Can you believe it? I actually picked up some new tabletop RPG material!
- Flight of the Phaeton- A Ship for Cepheus Engine (Thunderegg Productions, last updated July 2022). From the publisher – “Although most of its components are TL 9, this lowly ship houses a powerful heart of antimatter. Its TL 20 power plant is based on alien technology. This plant runs not only the revolutionary Alcubierre drive, but also a devastatingly powerful antimatter weapon. Can humanity, in the infancy of its space travel, handle the incredible responsibility of such power? As the captain, it’s up to you to find out!” This is my first Thunderegg Production product so something of an experiment.
- Playing Solo: Classic Traveller (Zozer Games, last updated Apr 2022). From the publisher – “The aim is to create a roadmap for solo play; rolling dice, creating and recording with a purpose. With an added table or two, this can involve running a group of characters through some daring heist or fighting with alien pirates over a lost treasure long sought, and is an incredibly enjoyable, imagination-stimulating pastime. Of course whatever is created also provides a ready-made setting with adventure hooks for a group of Traveller players at the table top.”
Working my way through Mastering the Art of Command: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific by Trent Hone (Naval Institute Press, 2022). Taking my time to savor this one. Hone’s approach, focusing on Nimitz as the leader of a complex, adaptive system, is very interesting…
The new article of the week is, “What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis” by Christopher Lawrence of the Dupuy Institute. Historical analysis is not operations research and it’s more than just history. Wargaming is actually intimately connected to historical analysis although many players don’t know (or maybe want to acknowledge) the fact. His article is the “Last Word” in the Summer 2022 edition of PHALANX, the quarterly journal of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS). See Lawrence, Christopher A., “What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis,” PHALANX (Summer 2022), Vol. 55: No. 2, 50-52.
It’s Not Rocket Science…Until It Is
Finally, not sure if this fits reading, boardgames, or wargames. Ken Burnside of Ad Astra Games offers several books on how to make space combat games more realistic. His latest offering is Tabletop Tsiolkovsky (Ad Asdtra Games, last updated Aug 2022). Ken describes the book as:
While the very first space combat game (Triplanetary) had fuel on the rockets, most space combat systems don’t use fuel at all. With the popularity of television series like The Expanse and Babylon 5, audiences are more interested than ever a touch of realism in their space combat games.
The most effective way to add accuracy is to acknowledge the Tyranny of the Rocket Equation.
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was one of several people to derive the equations of rockets in the early 20th Century, and his is the name most commonly associated with it. If you’ve ever heard the term “delta-V” (Δv), that’s “total change in velocity,” and it comes from his work.
This product provides a small amount of background on the Rocket Equation, and describes use cases. The bulk of the product are simple to use lookup tables: Cross reference the percentage of your ship’s mass devoted to fuel with the tech level of your engine, and you get the total number of fuel points in “thrust units per turn”, which map to whatever game scale your game uses. There are three tables covering three different possible settings, and it will work with any game with a ship construction system.Wargame Vault
Hah! I like how Triplanetary is hailed as a more “realistic” boardgame, and The Expanse and Babylon 5 franchises are singled out as more hard sci-fi. This is gong to make all the $tar War$ and $tar Trek(le$$) fans upset, eh?
Feature image courtesy USNI News – “Chinese frigate Weifang leaves the Black Sea on May 14, 2015. Photo by Yörük Işık